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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Dennis YU
余允抗 | YU Dennis

A great film is not made up of extravagant props or special effects, a star-studded cast or filming technique. A great film is made up of drama. Drama is the soul of a film, told through actors’ truthful performances. The most heart-wrenching emotions in a film are the most touching moments for an audience.

A great romance has to touch the hearts of the filmmakers before making an impact on the audience. If you want to make a great horror film, it must scare you first before it send shivers down the audience’s spines. If you are not touched by the emotions in your film, you can never convince movie-goers.


Born in 1949 in Guangdong, China, Dennis Yu studied film at University of California, Los Angeles. He returned to Hong Kong and worked at Television Broadcasts (TVB) as senior producer between 1975 and 1977. In 1978, he founded a film company and later served as CEO in another. From 1983 to 1998, he established Dennis Yu Film Production, producing a number of ground-breaking films.

Yu’s directorial debut is See-Bar (1980), a fusion of gambling film and gangster film, successfully creating a new image for star Chow Yun-fat as a street kid who becomes a master gambler. The same year, he also directed The Beasts (1980), a hardhitting thriller with a vigilante theme that elicited controversy as well as critical attention. The film also established Yu’s reputation for making explosive thrillers. In 1981, Yu directed The Imp, a frightful story told with rich details and stylized mise-en-scene, creating dread without overdoses of blood and violence and concluding with an open ending that smashed the tradition of storytelling in Hong Kong cinema. The film went on to become a classic of the Hong Kong horror film.

Yu then proved his versatility by directing the action comedy City Hero (1985) and the musical drama Musical Singer (1985). In 1987, he directed Evil Cat, written by Wong Jing and starring Hsu Shu-yuan, whom Yu guided into giving an outstanding performance as the cat spirit in the title. The film is also marked by several sharply directed action set pieces.

Yu retired from filmmaking in the 1990s and ventured into finance, taking up top positions in a number of listed companies. In 2005, Yu became the founding chairman of League of Ordinary Gentlemen, a charity that supports young children’s education and their livelihood in rural China. The organization had founded a number of schools in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1987 《凶貓》
Evil Cat
1985 《歌舞昇平》
Musical Singer
1985 《飛虎奇兵》
City Hero
1984 《馬後炮》
1981 《凶榜》
The Imp
1980 《師爸》
1980 《山狗》
The Beasts